Sara Paretsky (b. June 8, 1947 in Ames, Iowa) is a contemporary American author of detective fiction. Parestsky was raised in Kansas, but earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has lived in Chicago ever since.
The protagonist of all of Paretsky's novels is V. I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. Warshawski's eclectic personality defies easy categorization. She drinks Black Label, breaks into houses looking for clues, and can hold her own in a street fight, but also she pays attention to her clothes, sings opera along with the radio, and enjoys her sex life. Although Warshawski's temper, impulsiveness, and independence land her in most of the danger she faces, the reader still roots for her to win out against the thugs, swindlers, and male chauvanists.
Paretsky's plots are formulaic thrillers: Someone is murdered in the early pages to conceal a crime, and more killings follow, culminating with Warshawski herself narrowly escaping being killed in a climactic confrontation with the murderer. The lack of variety in storylines is compensated for by rich details about the lives and businesses of Paretsky's characters. Local color abounds, including traffic on the Stevenson Expressway, and the perennial travails of the Cubs.